Tanzanian startup gets US$32m in funding to boost CPG supply chain

By our News Team | 2022

Consumer-packaged goods industry in Africa is being ‘systematically transformed’ by Ramani’s ‘huge ambition’, investor says.

Supply chain processes in Tanzania – and Africa in general –are set for a boost following the announcement that Tanzanian-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup, Ramani, has raised US$32-million in international funding to help digitise the country’s supply chain.

Founded in 2019 by Kibet Martin, Iain Usiri, and Calvin Usiri, Ramani operates in the consumer-goods supply chain. More specifically, the funds will be used to scale its network of micro-distribution centres (MDCs) and also to launch a new micro-credit offering for selected MDCs.

Supply Chain

The Ramani senior leadership team. Photo credit: Ramani

According to the technology website, TechCabal, lack of access to credit facilities and data has been a common problem for these supply chains. 

To remedy this, Ramani provides tech-enabled inventory management systems, procurement services, and point-of-sale (POS) software to help digitise the processes of the MDCs. 

“The startup provides inventory to the MDCs on credit, through the data gathered from these services. Earlier this year, Ramani acquired a lending license from the Central Bank of Tanzania,” TechCabal reported.

Struggling with limited access to actionable data

“Global giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have used these MDCs to reach the millions of ‘mom-and-pop shops’ on the continent. But just like Amazon, they have struggled with access to actionable data that might help their production planning, marketing and inventory management. Ramani is providing a solution to these companies,” the website said.

Ramani CEO, Iain Usiri, is quoted by the website Disrupt Africa as saying: “Ultimately, we want to make it easier for businesses to succeed in Africa and this new capital is another brick in that foundation. We’ve leveraged our Silicon Valley relationships and partnered with globally renowned investors, many of whom are successful founders themselves. We’re committed to repaying their faith in us and in Africa.” 

The website also quotes Andrew Vigneault of Flexcap Ventures, one of the investors, as saying the consumer-packaged goods industry in Africa is being systematically transformed by Ramani’s huge ambition for a vastly improved and more efficient supply chain.

According to Ramani, Africa’s supply chains are broken because of a lack of data transparency and a lack of access to financial services. Their product needs are unmet and their financial needs are unmet – despite the fact that Africa’s CPG supply chain alone is worth $1-trillion.

“We’re building an ecosystem of brands, micro-distribution centres and merchants. We connect them through our supply chain management software. We’ve started with a POS app for micro-distribution centres which integrates into a web dashboard that gives them sales visibility. We’ll then embed financial services into our software,” Ramani explains.

Dr Kin Kariisa

Group CEO - Next Media

Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

  • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
  • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
  • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
  • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.